After Wendy T’s “Crow and Grackle”
“… the damned have howled away their hearts…” - WB Yeats, All Soul’s Prayer
I read this first as “howled away their hats.” It made me laugh. Dear Yeats, of course we howl away our hearts, those flimsy things, so easily given, so easily broken, seldom properly mended. Damned or not, they are always on our sleeve. But to howl away our hats; imagine the maelstrom, chapeaus raining everywhere.
A murmuration of headgear; fedoras and cloche, berets, boaters, bowlers, a fez or two. The plethora of baseball caps. Trilbys, turbans. Sherlock Holmes’ deerstalker sails by, dancing with a bridal veil. Oppenheimer’s pork pie leads the way.
Why wouldn’t we howl away our hats in these turbulent times? Like Marie Antoinette, we’ve howled away our heads, tweeted our minds into nothingness. Microsoft says average attention span is shorter than a goldfish; it must be true. We are the speed-daters of storytelling. Beware the 6-second spot.
“You can leave your hat on,” sings Randy Newman. Easier said than done.